Month: January 2009

Perishable Skills

For the last couple, three years and thanks to the impositions at work, I had my shooting skills lapse somewhat. Not that I was any good from the beginning (far from it) but they were at such a low that I was actually embarrassed to shoot at my local IDPA matches. I am back to standard in my mediocre pistol skills but I had not shot rifle in a long long time till last Tuesday when I had the chance to attend a South Florida Defensive Carbine Club match. SFDCC is the bastard child of Rob Sloyer of TacticalYellowVisor, curmudgeon extraordinaire and a new writer for SWAT Magazine.  SFDCC is basically a group of South Floridians gathering to practice and run matches with Evil Black Rifles. The gamut of participants run from the very lousy (yours truly) to some very gifted and trained individuals shooting from AK Klones to tactically pimped ARs .

During the SFDCC match, I was an absolute mess. I forgot about holdover costing me two failure to neutralize targets on just one simple vanilla stage. The fact that I wanted to be fast and slick also added to the clusterfuck and eventually general piss poor attitude when I reached the next stage.  This stage (a handgun to rifle transition)  was shot better and slower although one of the steels was set to be knocked down by a S&W 500 only so my 9mm couldn’t knock it down and I gathered another Failure To Neutralize. The last stage was a rifle to pistol transition which again I took slowly and managed to shoot clean although you could have timed me with an hourglass.

What were the lessons learned? Lack of practice will screw you up. Shooting is a perishable skill that requires practice and more practice to keep fresh. In a situation, you do not have time to stop and think what you are doing wrong and carefully deduct what you must correct. You either do it right from the start or you will end up with assorted new holes that were not there the day you came into this world. So lots of dry fire are in my future. Also I will need to get some sort of reliable mag pouches but the pickings for AK mags are slim still. I was using a modified soviet block 2 magazine belt pouch, but the crappy canvas material gives too easy and made for a lousy reload. The craze nowadays is chest rigs but I am not very fond of them. I see them as clumsy unless you have a flat stomach or are slim which I am neither. I must also look for a new sling or figure out a better way to use the Specter Gear AK CQB sling since it gets in the way of my reloads. 

The argument of The Second Amendment as CCW.

Very few in our culture will disagree with the title of this thread. We know what the Second Amendment stands for, why it was recognized in our Bill of Rights and what purpose it serves. Those of us who have sat down and poured over the historical documents and studied the Framers’ intention can quote verse and chapter from the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers, plus 18th Century grammar and a bag of other themes that relate to the Second Amendment.

That said, to see that are those in the Second Amendment Culture that openly express the violation of the actual laws on a Magilla Gorilla Chest bumping cry for revolution is leading me to think that our first goal has changed from educating those who are not in our culture to those who have a narrow understanding of the average people in general.

Since 1934 with the passing of the National Firearms Act, the Second Amendment has been eroding slowly. Not until the last decade, firm and concerted efforts have started to bear fruit for the rescue of our Bill of Rights but we are still facing 74 years of the changing of People’s perceptions towards guns. When once was a normal thing for any American to own the gun of his and her choosing without a neighbor or a police officer raising an eyebrow, we now live in a world were the mere fact of trying to defend ourselves from a criminal is seen by a lot of people as vigilantism or blood thirstiness. This perception is hammered every day by a complicit media in support of those politicians that would like to see our Country descend into the level of many others: A Country not of independent and self assured Citizens but a Country of faithful and obedient members of a communal society.

Your average non-gun owner is subjected to a barrage of one sided news and opinion which it is hard to counter. They have been programmed to fear guns, fear gun owners and relay on Washington, their state capital and their local officials for protection while forgetting their liberties. And many of them have sadly accepted those terms and vote accordingly. It is not unknown to any of us people like that, people that when asked about guns will recite the same old tired (for us) answers and express the unfounded fears that they hear day in and day out. Even then, these are people that still believe in the Law because we are a Nation of Laws. Let me repeat and enhance that. There might be Good Laws and Bad Laws but We Are A Nation of Laws.

If a Law is bad, unjust and unfair we just do not decide to break it for the heck of it or because our unchecked egos tell us to do it. We fight it through all possible legal means and make the life of our legislators impossible until they do the job they were hired to do. We Do Not Break The Law. The standard we are held to is much higher because, every violation by one of us will be used without remorse by the opposition against us and it will help them cement their points with the Non-Gun owners. Even the macho chest-bumping talk of breaking the law for whatever reason is fodder for the Opposition who can lie, cheat and libel at their discretion in order to further their plans. We are not playing a level field or under fair rules. Life Sucks, get used to it and do something worthwhile instead of Macho Internet Posturing.

And yes, I call it Posturing since I am willing to bet that many of those who talk tall and engage in an verbal diarrhea about what they will do when the gummint comes, will probably run & hide at the sight of a Police or Military Tactical team breaching their homes looking for weapons in the best of cases or looking for them in the worse.

We saw what an unchecked Government can do during Katrina and they literally stepped in their genitalia losing amazing amounts of ground on their quest. It was a Public Relations Nightmare that woke up many people but not enough since it was promptly buried and forgotten by the Media. Still we garnished enough to get rid of legislation that infringed in our rights and obtained legislation that restricted some of the power of the Government. Was it enough? No. We need more? Yes. Will it happen before the next commercial break? (Oprah is quite good today) No, it will take many many years.

So knowing the scope of time and effort we must face against those who oppose us, why in God’s Green Earth are you willing to behave like a child and support with your actions the other side? Because when you spout that ego-driven drivel, you are doing just so.

We are in a Battle for Hearts and Minds. Let’s win it the smart way.

UPDATE: LimaTunes has a great article touching some of what I say here with the added value of a female perspective.

Losing the Media War…but that is nothing new.

We all know people that talk guns and wants guns but “not for thee” and today I was approached by one of those guys at work. He is a nice enough fella, has his Concealed Carry permit and has even been on TV supporting the Castle Doctrine and how it helped him avert an incident with a criminal. But with the recent shooting in Liberty City where 2 people were killed and nine wounded by a shooter with an AK-type weapon, my buddy made comments about how those weapons should be banned. I was amazed that he would even utter such bullshit in my presence knowing well my stance on guns and the Second Amendment so after a brief discussion about what “The Right of The People To Keep and Bear Arms” really means (which he lost), he said something that opened my eyes to what was inside his mind.

“With an AK, they can spray you with bullets before you can do anything to defend yourself.”

That is when I realized that all his information about those Evil Black Rifles come from what he has seen and read in the News. No wonder he was so off the mark. I asked him if he thought the gun that was used was fully automatic, a machine gun and he said yes. When I told him that the chances of the weapon used were zilch to none being fully automatic, he did a double take. I told him about how fully automatic weapons have been heavily regulated since 1934 by the National Firearms Act, that the Hughes amendment in the Firearms Protection Act of 1986 basically banned the production and ownership of fully automatic weapons for civilians which in turn sent the prices of existing automatic weapons into the ionosphere. I asked him what were the chances that a Liberty City gangbanger would spend $25,000 for a full auto AK 47 to commit murder and then drop it in some canal, his response was a long silence.

So we are losing the Media War as usual. Nothing new. We are used to see them actively engaged in the transmission of lies about us and about guns in full complicity with those that would would love to tear the Second Amendment from the Bill Of Rights. The infamous CNN report when the Assault Weapons Ban was about to expire was a classic. For those who do not know the story, shortly before the Clinton Gun Ban was about to expire, reporter John Zarrela in collusion with Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne, created a fake video where they demonstrated how dangerous the “banned” gun were by using full automatic AK 47 and passing it as one of the guns about to be liberated from the ban. CNN made the mistake of interviewing Wayne LaPierre the next day and before they could do anything about it, Mr. LaPierre announced to God and Country that the video was a fake. CNN threw a hissy fit but at the end they had to recant the video and sort of (in a very rondabout way) that the initial report was not as accurated as they thought it should be…which is MediaSpeak for “Ooops, we were caught in another lie.”

After all is said and done, we can only do one thing: Keep educating folks and we we are facing a liar, stop being nice and call him a liar. Nice lost the last elections and nice will lead us to lose our rights. Time to stop being Mr. & Mrs. Nice.

PS: Sheriff Ken Jenne ended up prosecuted & plead guilty to federal tax evasion and mail fraud charges after a corruption investigation uncovered crimes in his outside business dealings. You can always tell the dishonest people and the causes they support.

Call to Arms: No to Eric Holder as Attorney General.

The first of the great attacks against our rights is here. Eric Holder is President Elect Obama’s choice for Attorney General. Holder is a foaming-at-the-mouth anti Second Amendment zealot who has no shame in announcing that there is no such thing as an individual right to Keep and Bear Arms. He even filed an amicus brief in the Heller case stating so. That SCOTUS declared 9 to zilch that the Second Amendment is indeed an individual right should tell you some about the fine constitutional mind of this subject. Eric Holder was also involved in the Mark Rich pardon scandal under Clinton, the Elian Gonzalez SWAT raid where he had said that no tactical troops would be sent to retrieve the child but did it anyway.

It is imperative that you contact the Senate Judiciary Committee and make your opposition to Eric Holder known in the strongets possible terms. Eric Holder will have in his hands the immense powers to declare those not contributing to a presidential library terrorist or enamies of the state. With the stroke of a pen he can declare suspects any and all Amricans members of a Gun Rights organization. We Must stop this now.

Call them, fax them and email them. Make sure the subject line reads OPPOSE ERIC HOLDER or NO TO ERIC HOLDER. Flood the Committee, we cannot afford such disgrace sending SWAT teams to our houses  Here is the info:

United States Senate
Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Majority Office
Phone:202-224-7703 Fax:202-224-9516

Minority Office
Phone:202-224-5225 Fax:202-224-9102

The Members

Patrick J. Leahy – Chairman, D-Vermont


433 Russell Senate Office Bldg
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-4242 Fax 202.334.3479

Herb Kohl – D-Wisconsin


330 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4903
Phone: 202-224-5653 Fax: 202-224-9787

Dianne Feinstein – D-California


United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3841 Fax: (202) 228-3954

Russell D. Feingold – D-Wisconsin


506 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4904
Phone: 202-224-5323 Fax: 202-224-2725

Charles E. Schumer – D-New York

Web Contact Form

313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
Phone:202-224-6542 Fax:202-228-3027

Richard J. Durbin – D-Illinois

Web Contact Form

309 Hart Senate Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
9 am to 6 pm
(202) 224-2152 – ph (202) 228-0400 – fx

Benjamin L. Cardin – D-Maryland

Web Contact Form

509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-4524 Fax: 202-224-1651

Sheldon Whitehouse – D-Rhode Island

Web Contact Form

Hart Senate Office Building Room 502
Washington, D.C. 20510
202-224-2921 phone 202-228-6362 fax

Arlen Specter – Ranking Member, R-Pennsylvania

Web Contact Form

711 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3802
Phone:202-224-4254 Fax:202-228-1229

Orrin G. Hatch – R-Utah

Web Contact Form

104 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4402
Phone: 202-224-5251 Fax: 202-224-6331

Charles E. Grassley – R-Iowa

Web Contact Form

135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-1501
(202) 224-3744 No Fax Listed

Jon Kyl – R-Arizona

Web Contact Form

730 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-4521 Fax: 202-224-2207

Jeff Sessions – R-Alabama

Web Conact Form

335 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0104
Phone: 202-224-4124 Fax: 202-224-3149

Lindsey Graham – R-South Carolina

Web Contact Form

290 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5972 Fax: 202-224-3808

John Cornyn – R-Texas

Web Contact Form

517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4304
Phone:202-224-2934 Fax: 202-228-2856

Sam Brownback – R-Kansas

Web Contact Form

303 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6521 Fax: 202-228-1265

Tom Coburn – R-Oklahoma

Web Contact Form

172 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3603
Phone: 202-224-5754 Fax: 202-224-6008

Thanks to the Blog A Keyboard and a .45 for the great contact list.

Be safe in a Hotel. Part 2.

Continued from Be Safe In A Hotel.

  • If you have a gun for self-defense, keep it to yourself. Most hotel chains are anti-self defense. They do not like guns in their property and will not allow their employees to provide their means for self defense. They even forbid less-than-lethal articles such as pepper spray and stun guns. Pocket knives will send you to Human Resources to pick up your last check and a trip home although I am still amazed that they allow kitchen personnel to have those very long and sharp chef’s knives. As a guest legally carrying a weapon, your best bet is to shut the heck up and keep it from prying eyes. Also, try to keep anything gun related such as shooting accessories or even gun magazines from plain view of the housekeeping workers that come to clean your room. They will call security concerned that a gun nut ready to cause mayhem might be in the room and you will be bothered by managers trying gauge your intentions while one keystroke away from calling 911.
  • Take the time to reconnoiter the all the hotel and surrounding areas. Learn from the very basic of knowing where your nearest fire exit is located to asking about the crime rate in the area. Not only check where your fire exit is located, but also you may want to take the stairs all the way down and make sure it gives you a good access to safety in case of evacuation. Check for well illuminated stairs, easy to open doors from floor to floor, make sure that there are no abandoned items that may slow down or interrupt an evacuation or wet surfaces that may cause a slip and fall. Same applies for common areas of the hotel such as bars, restaurants, business center, stores, etc. Look around, see where you would go in case fecal matter hits the cooling apparatus or at least where to get behind hard cover if some nutjob decides to replicate another Mumbai attack. Check for cell phone coverage and make sure to note where the dead spots are located and where you have to go in case you need to dial 911. Ask about crime in the area and be ready to be lied to. Hotels will say that their place and neighborhood and crime free which is absolute bull but you may find one or two employees that will rather see you alive and will inform you of the potential dangers around than seeing you hurt. Under no circumstance believe Concierges and Bell Staff about safe places to eat or visit outside the hotel since they all have deals where they get kickbacks from these establishments. Use online resources to check for crime in the area you will be visiting. Lots of local police & sheriff departments will have a zip code by zip code crime statistic breakdown in their websites. And even if everything checks as safe, you are the only one responsible for your safety so do not let your guard down.
  • You are alone, trust your gut. Hotels, outside the lobby and a couple of common areas and during check in and checkout times are desolated places. You may see a hotel worker from time to time in the hallways and maybe another guest, but that will be rare. That means that when you walk from or to your room, the possibility of an ambush is there and you should be very aware of your surroundings. Most hotel rooms nowadays have peepholes in the doors so use them before you step out and make sure nobody suspicious is in the immediate vicinity of your door.  After you open the door, take a couple of seconds and scan the hallway for more any suspicious activity or individuals. Keep an eye on doors not properly closed, specially closets since they are perfect ambush lairs for criminals. It is not widely publicized but rapist and other criminals will look for places to hide and wait for an unsuspecting victim to walk by. If you see something that bothers you, retreat back to your room, call the Front Desk and have them send somebody to check for a suspicious individual. However, the most dangerous part of empty hallways is going back to the room. People are usually tired or distracted or even tipsy after a night of party and they just want to go in the room and lay down. Awareness is less than stellar and all of the sudden you have a gun pointed at your face commanding you to go inside the room where you will be stripped of your goods, your dignity and even your life. If something is amiss, get in a house phone and demand a security escort to your room in a loud and clear voice so anybody in earshot can hear you. Get away safely if you can or look for a fighting position that offers good cover and is defensible.  Again, trust your gut, if something looks dangerous, use your head and your training.

Be safe in a Hotel.

For the past five years I worked in the hospitality business as a security officer. By now I have ceased to be amazed at how people behave about their own personal security. For whatever reason, guests arriving at a hotel seem to think that whatever precautions they usually take at home, do not apply while on vacation or business trip. Nothing can be further from the truth. If anything, you should be even more aware of your surroundings and take extra care of yourself. I would like to share some ideas about being safe at a hotel with you now.

First: You are responsible for your own security! This should be damn obvious by now, but as I said before some people just switch off the basic survival procedures during a vacation. Just so you know. Hotel Security is not there to protect you but to protect the interest of the hotel. That is our mandate.

Sure, we are “trained” to look after you and try to see that nothing happens to you but the undercurrent in that is that Hotels are highly allergic to lawsuits brought by guest. If by some legal or legislative trick hotels were to become immune to lawsuits, the first department to disappear would be Security. We are just a legal excuse so in court the hotel can prove to the jury they took “reasonable measures’ to provide a modicum of safety to the guest.

Now, what can you do to be safe in a Hotel?

  1. Make sure your door is closed and that all the security devices attached to it are operational. Not a day goes by that during my rounds I find occupied room with doors open, occupants gone and expensive items in plain view. Laptops, Ipods, expensive watches, wallets and purses just ready to be plucked by an enterprising petty thief just because the guest left the room without making certain the door was firmly closed behind them.  And do the same before you go to sleep: check the damn door. I have found doors unsecured and female occupants deeply into the arms of morpheus ready to be sodomized or worse due to their carelessness. Use all latches and privacy dohickies that come with the lock and if you are still unsure, get one of those wedge rubber door stoppers which will provide one more layer of resistance in case somebody tries to kick in your door. You’d be surprised how weak a hotel door can be around the lock.
  2. Use the room safe, it is there for a darn reason. Most hotels only allow Security or a Manager the master codes or equipment to bypass a locked safe and having a small pool of suspects in case of an item missing from a safe makes almost everybody be very honest. And let’s face it folks, we (Hotel personnel) know all the goodie spots where you can “hide” your stuff in a room. And you will forget where you hid your extra cash of expensive jewelry, will not remember until you are back home and will have to call the hotel to retrieve it and send it. That is if you are lucky enough and the room has not been rented to another guest that found your stuff and decided that “finders keepers” apply to your possessions.
  3. Be smart about room keys.  Yes you heard all the Internet tales of magnetic card keys encoded with all your personal information included your DNA and the name of your first sweetheart, but the the real problem is being careless with your card as in losing it or damaging it. If you misplace your card, immediately go to the front desk and demand a new one and make sure you specify you do not want a duplicate. This is very important because a totally new card will eliminate the security encoding of the old one thus preventing anybody who might have found your card and want to use it to gain access to the room. Again, demand a New Card, not a Duplicate. Never write down your room number in your card or have it with anything that may indicate which room or even what floor you are staying in. There is no reason why you should make life easy for critters. And please keep the card away from cell phones and any electronic devices or anything with a magnetic field that will damage the card. The last thing you want to do is being alone in a hallway at the wee hours of the night with an bad key possibly becoming a target of a marauding criminal.  Request at least one extra card and have it as back up to avoid unnecessary trips to the Front Desk and have them send a New Key. This will also help you know if the key sent to you is really a new one or a duplicate: once you insert the new key, the old one will not work anymore. If after inserting the new key, the old one still work, call the Front Desk, raise merry hell demand a new one and then call the Corporate Office and let them know of the flagrant breach of security.

Next: Part 2 of How to be Safe In a Hotel